Sometimes names can be deceiving. The Cloth Shop has been in Portobello Road for as long as I can remember (apparently they first opened in Soho in 1980 and relocated to Portobello Road in 1992), but not being handy with a sewing machine I never wandered in until a couple of years ago one Sunday morning. I’m not sure what drew me in, probably the window display which always looks inviting.
The Cloth Shop is more than just a cloth shop. It’s a family run fabric and homewares shop, specialising in linens and vintage textiles, and so beautifully curated. It’s easy to fall in love with this place and to want to keep going back to be inspired and see what’s new. Next time you’re in the area, don’t walk past, go in and have a look at this little gem.
Apparently my last blog post was the middle of July last year. I’m shocked. Where did that time go? So I’m going to put a few small posts up here of places and spaces I’ve been meaning to share for a while.
The first is Loop in Islington. I don’t knit or crochet but if I did I would be a regular here. Loop stocks beautiful yarns and haberdashery sourced from all over the world.
For more information, check out their website here
Really just looking for an excuse to post some more photos of this beautiful place, despite the fact that it’s size makes it very hard to photograph.
Tucked away in a side street in Kyoto, Wife&Husband is more than just a coffee shop, although I’m reliably informed by my friend that it’s some of the best coffee she has tasted. It’s advertised as coffee shop/picnic/antiques.
As a cafe the menu is limited but can highly recommend the cheese honey toast, and they also have a selection of antiques for sale – plates, bowls, coffee grinders etc.
If the weather permits you can go for a picnic and hire everything you’d need from stools, benches, straw mat, folding table, straw hat, parasol etc and set up by the river nearby. Their website shows the idyllic picnic setting.
Above you can see the East Hill Lift (built some ten years later than it’s sister on the West Hill). The lift opened in April 1902 and the original Victorian cars are still in use today but were converted to an electric motor system in 1974.
The East Hill Lift is the steepest funicular railway in the country with an angle of 38 degrees (1 in 2.8 gradient).
The dark wood buildings gave this part of town (for me) a very Scandinavian feel. The fishing huts, said to be early 17th Century, are approx 25 feet high, and were originally used as workshops and storage for nets, sails and ropes.
Highly recommend a fish lunch or dinner at Rock A Nore Kitchen (above).
The Crown (above and below) came highly recommended by anyone we asked where to eat, and had a very good selection of gin.
We also enjoyed a dinner in St Leonards at Graze (not photographed).
A visit wouldn’t be complete without a walk along the front – even if it’s cold and blustery.
We stayed at a great airbnb a few minutes walk from the pier – click here to view.
If you made it this far, thank you! I hope you enjoyed this taster of Hastings, and would love to hear your recommendations for a weekend away, or day trip.
Last weekend I spent a few days in Hastings. I wanted to get away for a few days, to smell the sea air, have brisk walks along the front, eat fresh fish (and cake!) and explore with my camera. I’d also had my eye on a couple of shops that I had wanted to visit for a good while – AG Hendy’s and Warp & Weft.
Usually when I go somewhere new, if there is an old part of town I will always head there first. And so we did. The main street that runs through Old Hastings, George Street, was full of interesting independent shops selling homewares, art and antiques, flowers, artisan bread and of course cake. What I really loved was the amount of buildings/shops with original old features and signage – it was like stepping back in time.
I’ve visited Italy several times over the years including:
– yoga in the Sabine Hills – on an outdoor yoga platform in the valley surrounded by nature
– annual creative events a good friend hosted in the family house in Lake Como
– Venice in the snow
– Milan and Verona to see a friend play some shows
– road trip through Tuscany
– camping in the North
– hilltop villages in Umbria
– converted monastery in Parrano, Umbria – surrounded by 3,000 hectares of protected natural reserve
BUT, I had never been to Rome until last year. How? How was I 52 years old by the time I visited this incredible and breathtaking city for the first time?
We walked until our feet hurt. Stopped for pizza and gelato. Visited as many of the key sites as possible – personal favourites were the Roman Forum (like being on a film set) and the Pantheon – the scale. the light. Explored as many neighbourhoods as we could, crossing the Tiber river to our favourite, Trastevere, a charming medieval neighbourhood, formerly a working class district. Went in almost every church we passed and lit candles for loved ones. Took photo after photo of this beautiful city and I’d like to share some here with you.
I met a friend recently for lunch who I hadn’t seen for some months. She congratulated me on finally getting my blog underway, at which time I realised that I hadn’t posted anything since October! This was mostly down to work as I was away for 5 weeks before Christmas in Barbados (thought I’d drop that in :)), then Christmas happened, bit more travel, more life and here we are.
It’s amazing the speed life moves.. I spent the first part of last year gathering content for my blog and then found that a lot of the places had moved on or closed down.
One of these was the lovely space in Ropewalk that LASSCO (architectural antiques and salvage) had. I went there recently and seems that they have moved from those corner premises into something smaller (and narrower) a bit further down under the railway arches in South East London. I might do a post on that soon to show you some of the photos then, and now.
Meantime I wanted to share some photos of a couple of trips I took last year, Chania and Rome.
First Chania. I’d previously posted about the days spent in Kapsaliana Village in Crete before we moved to the city for the second part of the holiday. After those gentle days spent in the mountains, Chania came as a bit of a shock, initially feeling very overwhelmed by the noise and amount of people, and wondering if we’d made a terrible mistake. After a few hours wandering the narrow streets we began to fall for it’s charms. The colours, the decay (and I do love decay as you will see from my photos), the beautiful 14th Century Venetian harbour and one of the most incredible settings for dinner I’ve ever experienced:
Fish restaurant Thalasino Ageri in Tabakaria, with tables set right next to the water surrounded by beautiful dilapidated and vacant buildings. We watched the sun go down, casting its golden light on the decaying buildings around us, with the sea providing the perfect soundtrack. It was magical.
Some photos of beautiful Chania
And a selection of doors!
I’ll leave you with the image of the beach we drove to one day…
I would love to hear your travel recommendations or details of a magical setting you found yourself in.
When I lived in London I was constantly inspired. Since moving out into Berkshire two years ago, I’m always on the look out for interesting places. Home Barn is one of those gems – a beautifully curated interior lifestyle shop in a 17th-century tithe barn in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire,
Fashion Design, Art Direction and Interiors, the creative backgrounds of owners Sally and Sarah, are evident in not only the collection of pieces on display but in the way they are styled.
For more information, including opening hours, check out their website
i gigi is one of my favourite places. It was easier (quicker) to visit when I lived in London, but I will make the trip to Brighton just to visit this beautiful shop.
i gigi is an inspirational lifestyle store in Brighton (Hove to be more precise) and run by friends Zoe Ellison and Alex Legendre. The shop is relaxed, warm and inviting, and beautifully curated and styled using their signature muted and earthy colours.
There’s also a cafe on the first floor – try and grab the little table at the back by the window, which looks out onto the rooftops, or sit at the front and people watch the street below.
Yesterday’s lunch was particularly wonderful. Not only with a dear friend, but at one of my all time favourite London places who have now set up just about an hour and quarter by car from me. The drive was especially beautiful at this time of year, through the rolling Oxfordshire countryside. All shades of green, lush from all the summer (!) rain we’ve had.
Story began life in Spitalfields many years ago – an influential market style emporium which looked like the most beautiful exhibition space, but everything was for sale, from a vintage bench to jewellery. clothing and handmade items from shell and driftwood. It became a regular haunt for designers and them teams, who would arrive armed with notebooks to soak up the atmosphere and ideas. An inspiring place for many.
From the Wilkes Street property they moved around the corner to Dray Walk where the space was split – downstairs eating and upstairs the shop. I loved this combination, but imagine that it’s very hard to keep these spaces with rent hikes in areas like Spitalfields and Shoreditch as they are gentrified. They’ve moved a few times over the years and the focus turned to the food side with the last two places, including a pop up in Calvert Street.
The menu consists of their signature totally organic, yeast free, thin crust pizzas, made with the freshest ingredients and taste every bit as good as they look. Apologies for no photos of the pizzas but we devoured them before I even thought about photographing them! Yes, they are that good. How about the mushroom one – garlic and thyme roasted mushrooms, caramelised red onion, mozzarella, rosemary, basil pesto & balsamic glaze.
Their current venture, Little Story, is in a little Buckinghamshire village. It used to be a pub, which is confusing for locals who no sooner do they wander in looking for the bar, wander out again promising to visit soon. As we were leaving we met a local farmer, who upon hearing where we’d just been said “Oh you like it there? It’s like marmite, you either love it or hate it”. Little Story will evolve organically and I for one can’t wait to visit again soon.
Recommend calling before you visit to check they are open.